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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Pitchers practice fielding before but not during the season.

We've all probably wondered about it for years.  During the season whenever a pitcher does something like cover first base the announcer assures us that the pitchers practice these things endlessly in spring training.  But the announcer never, and I mean never, indicates in any way that the pitchers ever practice at all once the season begins.

Now we finally know.  Read the whole article yourself but it's especially shocking compared to the analytical stuff that's become so prevalent in recent years.  You'd think that practice would be pretty basic.

Despite October Errors, Pitchers’ Fielding Drills Wither After Spring By BILLY WITZ FEB. 28, 2015  The New York Times

P.F.P., pitchers’ fielding practice ...

fielding comebackers and bunts, running pickoff plays, covering first base and starting or finishing double plays — almost any situation that requires a pitcher to become a fielder...

Most days during the course of a major league season, batters take batting practice, fielders practice fielding and pitchers throw balls back and forth. But only on rare occasions do pitchers practice fielding.
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Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees, pitching against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park in Boston, MA on May 23, 2006 by Ryosuke Yagi via Wikimedia Commons

In the bottom of the ninth inning of game seven of the 2001 World Series in Arizona Mariano Rivera had the biggest blown save in baseball history.  Rivera undermined his own effort by committing a throwing error on an attempted sacrifice bunt.  Ultimately, Rivera was charged with an error, blown save and the loss.  I wonder how long it had been since Rivera had practiced his fielding.

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